(also refer to Page on Human Health Risks)

The declining effectiveness of antibiotics has become a major national public health crisis. According to the national
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 99,000 people died of hospital-acquired infections in 2002, the most
recent year for which data are available.
According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the vast majority of those infections
were caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Such “superbugs” - bacteria resistant to one or more antibiotics—are
also showing up in food and causing illness and even death. Doctors and scientists have called for much more
careful use of antibiotics so that disease-causing organisms don’t become immune to them.
The major user of antibiotics in the United States today is not the medical profession,however, but the meat and
poultry business. Some 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the
United States are used not on people but on animals, to make them grow faster or to prevent
disease in crowded and unsanitary conditions.
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FDA Calls Antibiotic Use In Farming 'A Serious Public Health Threat
Sharfstein provided information on cases of antimicrobial resistance and cited a 2004 report from Infectious
Diseases Society of America that said about 2 million people acquire bacterial infections in U.S. hospitals each year,
and 70 percent of those infections are resistant to at least one drug.
John Clifford, chief veterinarian of the Department of Agriculture -- which livestock producers have traditionally
relied on to advocate for their interests -- said the USDA "believes that it is likely that the use of antimicrobials in
animal agriculture does lead to some cases of antimicrobial resistance among humans and in animals themselves."
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"The short answer is overuse of antibiotics...It is livestock producers, however, who use the vast majority of
antibiotics produced in the United States. An estimated 70 percent of antibiotics and related drugs produced in this
country are used for nontherapeutic purposes such as accelerating animal growth and compensating for
overcrowded and unsanitary conditions on large-scale confinement facilities known as 'factory farms'."

(Union of Concerned Scientists)

Power Steer
Most of the microbes that reside in the gut of a cow and find their way into our food get killed off by the acids in our
stomachs, since they originally adapted to live in a neutral-pH environment. But the digestive tract of the modern
feedlot cow is closer in acidity to our own, and in this new, man-made environment acid-resistant strains of E. coli
have developed that can survive our stomach acids—and go on to kill us.
Most of the antibiotics sold in America
end up in animal feed—a practice that, it is now
generally acknowledged, leads directly to the evolution of new
antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’.
New York Times Magazine, “Power Steer” by Michael Pollan Click here for full article

Putting Meat on the Table
"A World Health Organization (WHO) Rport on Infectious Diseases published in 2000 expressed alarm at the spread
of multidrug-resistant infectious disease agents, and pointed to food as a major source of antimicrobial-resistant
Click here for full article